Sunday, March 31, 2013


March 31, 2013 Easter Peace and Good, I hope you had a good Holy Week and a wonderful Easter. I am writing today because tomorrow I will be on the road and I don’t know how the internet connections will be over the next couple of weeks. I will be travelling to Vietnam, Australia, Philippines and England. This has been a good week. I was able to do a huge number of daily reflections and have them posted. I was also able to work on a translation project that is far behind schedule. The Holy Week ceremonies at our Basilica were beautiful. We have a quite large basilica where Sts.Philip and James, the Apostles, are buried. The services are definitely high church, with everything sung and every verse sung. I have a pet peeve about singing too much on Good Friday (because the liturgy is supposed to be as simple as possible). Ours has even the account of the Passion sung. I went to it in a spirit of solidarity with the other friars – to be there for them more than for what I would get out of it. The Pope continues to say things that are making everyone talk. I never remember in these past years that the friars would be speaking almost every day at lunch and supper over when the Pope said that day. His morning Holy Thursday service was a tremendous hit. The weather here is still uncharacteristically cool. That’s OK, it will warm up for me tomorrow. Ho Chi Mihn City will be very hot and very humid. I will be going there to visit the friars and see how they are doing. Then I will fly up to Hanoi to visit a leprosarium which the friars run. This is my first time to Vietnam, so I am a little nervous. I sure all will be fine, but there is always a bit of nerves the first time one visits a new place. Hope you have a good week. I have finished a few books: The Expendable Spy by Max Lerner This is a good book on a young Jewish man who witnesses the death of his parents in Vienna. He flees and ends up being involved in a series of adventures. He becomes a spy for the British, and assists them in many ways. Of course, he is the hero, so his adventures border on the extraordinary. Yet, the author manages to keep the story realistic. There is a sense of tough choices made when battling the ultimate evil such as the Nazi’s. The one criticism I would have is the author’s portrait of women. They really don’t come across that well in the book. Overall, though, the book is a good read. I found myself wanting to read more each day. Dangerous Games by Michael Prescott This is a detective novel about two women, one an FBI agent and one a lone ranger private investigator, who sort of work together to resolve a murder mystery. Someone is kidnapping women in Los Angeles and chaining them in storm systems so that they drown if there is a heavy rain. This person is blackmailing the city for millions of dollars to reveal the location of the woman before she dies. The FBI agent is called in from Denver, but she is being used by the head of the Los Angeles office. She, like the Private Investigator, is an independent figure who follows her own leads. The action in the book is good, and most of the dialog believable. I wouldn’t say that this was War and Peace, but it is not a bad book. Sea of Glory by Nathaniel Philbrick This is the story of the first great sea journey sponsored by the US government to explore unknown regions and to document the scientific, geographic, ethnographic, etc., details of the journey. The ships travelled to the southern edge of South America, passed into the Pacific where they explored islands and part of the coast of Antarctica, explored the coast of the upper Northwest around the Pudget Sound and the mouth of the Columbia River, etc. They gather an incredible wealth of materials, much of which became the original possession of what eventually became the Smithsonian. Yet, the trip was plagued by incredible infighting, caused largely by the bombastic style of the man put in charge of the voyage: Lt. Wilkes. It is interesting that I heard of this man in another book that I had read, this one on the relationship between the US and Great Britain during the Civil War. In that book, Wilkes played a major role by capturing two Confederate representatives on a British postal ship and thus almost starting a war all on his own. Again, he comes across in the affair as brash and arrogant. The book is good, but it centers too much on the personal intrigue and not enough on the remarkable scientific work that the men participating in this voyage were able to accomplish. God bless and Shalom Fr. Jude


Post a Comment